Sunday, April 21, 2024

Parenting & A Bottle of Ketchup


Parenting & A Bottle of Ketchup (Bonus post at the end)

Originally published on 09/22/2020 and Revised 04/21/2024

By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez, Parent/Writer/Behavioral Health Specialist

Parenting is Hard Work! 

By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez, Parent/Writer/Behavioral Health Specialist

Parenting is hard. Parenting is challenging. Parenting often knocks us sideways. Parenting needs a TEAM! World of Writer Mom loves TEAMWORK, even though I am really an introvert. I write way more than I talk sometimes. But you are ALWAYS welcome here. Please share this page. Please visit for posts about parenting, writing, and strategizing adult survival skills. I won't judge, preach, or get too sentimental. (Although my children will probably roll their eyes and laugh at that promise.) I have been known to share stories, be sarcastic, and squirt an entire bottle of ketchup on my kitchen floor just to get my children's attention. (That's a story for another time.)

I do share affiliate links but that is no obligation to you at all. I love to see the pretty boxes in my right sidebar. (Shiny, colorful beacons of quiet shopping opportunities created with introverts in mind.) I like to place promotions where they look great. If something happens to catch your eye, go ahead and take a look. Who knows...something may be interesting.

So, Parenting is hard. I already said that. But you don't have to feel alone! NOBODY is perfect, no matter how things look. Many of us drop a few "eff" words in moments of frustration. You are not doomed to damage your family if you're not 100% - 24/7 - 365 days out of the year. So, hang out here once in a while and ask me if I have a story for you to redirect those intrusive thought. And I will ask the same when needed OK? We have to take turns keeping the lighthouse lit, the boat afloat, the soup on the stove, the bubbles in our bath, the shine on our get the idea. Share your inspirational insights and let us know how you help contribute to Team Parent.

Here's the incredible "watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat" secret to this team. You might not even be a parent yet, but your contributions are no less significant. You may be the one that creates that "mom lit moment" when a parent is at their last portion of patience. Like the cashier at the drive-through window who smiles and encourages me to have a great day. Yes! Yes, Steve. I will enjoy this cheap ass sweet tea and remember you took a moment out of a busy morning of hash brown slinging and macfluffin egg sandwich presentations in that iconic brown paper bag to shoot me a smile and nod your head sympathetically as my cabbage headed children whine ominously in the back of my mini-van. (Insert breath to recover from my long-winded, run-on statement.) 

Come on, admit it. You know you were holding your breath! Who would have thought that parenting would require you to remember breathing! But there it is...that ache in your neck, the tension in your shoulders, and the sudden light-headed sensation that reminds you breathing is not always automatic. 

Here's a suggested post to get you started if you haven't read one yet: (Oh, wait. This is a post. So, here's another for you when you need a moment for yourself.) Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting. I look forward to sharing more mom moments with you. (The name "mom" is literally the first part of moments.) 

Bonus Post

This is the story about how I used a $2.99 bottle of Heinz Ketchup to redirect my three children one day when they were arguing, loudly violating personal space, and just not responding to my love and logic parenting efforts. I was stressed for so many reasons, including what I was going to make for dinner that evening. No amount of de-escalation or requests to, "Hey, come help mom in the kitchen! I'd love to spend some time with you!" were making a dent in their armor of discord and doom.

Now full disclosure, I worked for many years in early childhood development, studied behavioral challenges and remediation strategies, and understood every bit of where each of my three children were developmentally.  IT DOESN'T MATTER!  That's all I can tell you. Ok, maybe it matters a little bit and gives your children a prayers chance that you will have an extra assortment of patience, skills, and creative ideas. But working in child development isn't the "get out of parenting hell free" card that you might think it is. It simply gives you perspective, and that perspective led me to what I am about to disclose to you.

I needed immediate response and resolution to the chaotic toddler frat house environment my children had so openly created.  Not sure what inspired me to open the refrigerator with the next scream I heard, but I had to do something to stop the throbbing in my head, and anxiety in my chest, and the fear that my children and I would remain locked in this moment forever.  I reached for a full bottle of Heinz Ketchup, the best kind, because it was the one thing I couldn't bring myself to buy as a store brand. 

I hugged that cold bottle of ketchup and sat on the floor facing the wall, with just enough space in front of my body to release that beautiful red condiment onto the floor. I started in swirls from the outside inward and then held the bottle in the middle as I proceeded to empty the container, all the while reciting a spontaneous combination of a prayer/incantation/cry for help into the universe:

"We're like this ketchup bottle. We just keep adding on and adding on to our mess. 
We open up our problems and allow them to spill out onto the floor.
It just makes more stress. 
Nothing gets solved by making more of a mess."

I'm honestly not sure what else may have been said in that moment of needing to redirect my children, but soon all three of them surrounded me. There was a mixture of amusement and concern while I continued to empty the bottle onto the kitchen floor. I have to admit, it was calming. It was mesmerizing. It changed the energy in the room. My daughter looked at her brothers, and said, "Do we need to call someone?"  Soon we were all sitting on the floor, talking about how we can be kinder to each other, and discussing how we can help each other when we're feeling stressed. Then we cleaned up the ketchup together and made dinner for the evening. 

So, this is not one of your conventional parenting techniques, and you will never find it in any child development best practices book. But it did create a memory that we still talk about, even though my children are now older and entering young adulthood. And we still use Heinz Ketchup as our preferred condiment for burgers, hotdogs, and fries. Now, we have our family story to add to our fondness for this addition to our recipes.

 Speaking engagements & Advocacy Coaching

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Monday, April 15, 2024

Cherry Picking Anxiety


A Metaphor for Life's Unexpected Challenges

Originally published on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

It doesn't matter which cherries you choose from this bowl. Some of the fruit may be sweet; others could be sour.  Some still have a stem attached, while others remain free of their original connection.  But you can pretty much be sure that each one will have a pit.  It's the one thing you can assume. Knowing that one thing allows us to develop our plan. You can eat around it, take the pit out with one of those fancy cherry pitters, or cut the cherry in half to remove the center stone.  You could also choose to ignore the pit.  But then you need to be prepared to deal with the consequences of that decision too.  It's a good idea to always have a plan of action and not be afraid to follow your heart.

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

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Monday, April 8, 2024

Challenges of Parenting & More

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 Challenges of Parenting & Reasons 
I Love Being a Mom ~ My List of Ten

Originally published on Tuesday, 08/13/2019
By: M.B.Varville-Rodriguez

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Challenge #1

Teaching children how to stand up for themselves is hard.
You want them to be respectful, and you want them to be capable 
of defending themselves too. It's a fine line and requires finesse.

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Reason I Love Being a Mom #2

I love hearing how my children stand up for what they believe
is right, just, and necessary.  They DO listen to me even though
some days it does not feel like they hear a word I say.
Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

 Challenge #3

 Allowing children to speak what is on their mind requires
endless patience and a willingness to let go of your own ego.

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Reason I Love Being a Mom #4

I have learned that I can let go of my desire to prove I am "right"
all the time. Guess what?  Sometimes I can be totally wrong!
Children need to know they have points too. When you are
willing to relinquish your perceived control when the stakes 
are low, you are in a better position to call in 
the "Mom Card" on subjects that truly matter
 in terms of your child's physical, emotional, and 
social well-being.  Pick your battles 
or the small, insignificant crap will haunt you.

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Challenge #5

Sharing your experiences, concerns, worries, and expectations often sucks. 
You want to impart wisdom in ways
 that help children develop an understanding 
of how to act and respond in today's world.
Figuring out how to manage these concepts can be tricky.
Each child processes information and assimilates it differently.

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Reason I Love Being a Mom #6

 When I see how my children interact with others, 
how caring they have become,
and how much they love and respect those with whom 
they have connected, it makes me feel incredibly
 proud of the amazing young people they are.
 We are each on a journey here on earth, 
and it is so important for each of us to realize 
how we can use our gifts, talents, and interests
 to make the world a better place to live.

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Challenge #7

Exhaustion.  Sometimes I need to remind my 
children, "Mommy is a human mommy, not
an android."  We get tired too. It's part of the 
whole parenting deal. Accepting that these
moments happen is necessary. It's okay to
take a step back and admit it's time for a break.
(Sometimes that means dropping everything and
just getting on the floor to play, listen to the kids, or
watch a movie together. The dishes can wait.)

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Reason I Love Being a Mom #8

Teaching my children how to develop self-help skills,
life skills, and coping skills that will encourage them
to pursue independence is a wonderful way to build
their self-confidence.  When I see them self-initiating
tasks, it helps me realize that I am doing a good job.  
(Believe me, we still are a work in progress. But I do
feel encouraged every time someone empties the dish
washer or takes out the trash without being asked.)

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

 Challenge #9

Holidays, special occasions, and family get-togethers.
Sometimes it can be hard to live up to the
perceived expectations.  I never thought I would
be as great at pulling off birthdays, Christmases,
and other special events the way my mother could. 
She is a way better chef, baker, and entertainer than
I could ever hope to become. I have learned to be 
okay with my own way of taking care of my 
family and friends.  It is always worth the challenge.

 Movie Theater Fun ~ A rare treat

Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom

Reason I Love Being a Mom #10 

 I have written about this many times, but it is worth
repeating for this post.  I have three bio-children 
and several kiddos I consider my "bonus children."
They have taught me to venture outside of my
comfort zone, experience a variety of adventures,
taught me to be more social and interactive...even
though I'd often rather stay at home and snuggle on the 
couch with them to watch a movie...and take the
time to have fun.  They are my constant reminders that
God, the universe, and this crazy planet have an incredible sense of humor, 
a wisdom for gifting me with these amazing children,
and the trust in me to bring them up to become 
decent humans.  World...I'm doing my best.

Speaking engagements & Advocacy Coaching

 Contact me at for information to schedule
a presentation, inspirational speech, or coaching session
to advocate for your personal cause or concern.
I can also assist with written communication needs.
Rates are negotiable.